Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Regime Gains in Damascus, Syria: February 22 - March 6, 2018

By Christopher Kozak

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies in Russia and Iran seized over a quarter of the besieged Eastern Ghouta Suburbs of Damascus. Syrian Salafi-Jihadist group Jaysh al-Islam stated that opposition forces deliberately withdrew from rural areas in order to consolidate in urban terrain in the face a “scorched earth” campaign of heavy air and artillery bombardment by Syria, Russia, and Iran. Assad in turn vowed to continue the “fight against terrorism” even as pro-regime forces intensified their targeting of civilian populations and infrastructure in Eastern Ghouta. Pro-regime forces also removed medical supplies and imposed other restrictions on a humanitarian aid convoy that entered Douma in Eastern Ghouta on March 5. Civilians will come under increased threat in the coming weeks as the fighting moves closer to heavily-populated urban suburbs including Ayn Terma, Zamalka, Irbeen, Harasta, and Douma in Eastern Ghouta.